This is not the first time that the ISIL destroys in a barbaric way what is World Heritage and belongs to all of humanity. It is our link to the past of glorious civilizations like the Assyrian Empire that was founded in the 13th century before Christ.
This time ISIS militants hammered, bulldozed and ultimately blew up parts of the ancient Iraqi Assyrian city of Nimrod, destroying a site dating back to the 13th century BC. The destruction at Nimrod, located near the militant-held city of Mosul, follows other attacks on antiquity carried out by the group now holding a third of Iraq and neighbouring Syria in its self-declared caliphate.
The attacks have horrified archaeologists, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who last month called the destruction at Nimrod “a war crime.” as well as most of the civilized world. A seven-minute video some days ago shows bearded militants using sledgehammers, jackhammers and saws to take down huge alabaster reliefs depicting Assyrian kings and deities. A bulldozer brings down walls, while militants fill barrels with explosives and later destroy three separate areas of the site in massive explosions.
The level of fanatism and ignorance is expressed in the opinions of some of these militants. “God has honoured us in the Islamic State to remove all of these idols and statutes worshipped instead of Allah in the past days,” one militant says in the video. Another militant vows that “whenever we seize a piece of land, we will remove signs of idolatry and spread monotheism.”
Nimrod, founded in the 13th century BC, until now was one of the most famous archaeological sites in a country often described as the cradle of civilisation. The ancient city was first described in 1820 and plundered by Western explorers and officials over subsequent decades. It was also looted and damaged during the 2003 US invasion because of this most of Nimrod’s priceless artefacts were moved long ago to museums in Mosul, Baghdad, Paris, London and elsewhere but giant “lamassu” statues — winged bulls with human heads — and reliefs were still on site.
The militants have been destroying ancient relics they say promote idolatry that violate their fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic law, including the ancient Iraqi city of Hatra, a Unesco World Heritage site.
Authorities also believe they’ve sold others on the black market to fund their atrocities. Some of the figures in the video released Saturday at Nimrud appeared to have rebar, ribbed bars of steels designed to reinforce concrete that is a technique of modern building.
The Assyrians first rose around 2,500 BC and at one point ruled over a realm stretching from the Mediterranean coast to what is present-day Iran.
They left dozens of palaces and temples decorated with huge reliefs mainly depicting their kings’ military campaigns and conquests, hunting lions and making sacrifices to the gods. Their main hallmark was the colossal winged man-headed lions or bulls, protective deities put at the entrances of palaces and temples.
ISIL and its militants must be made acountable for all their crimes. They have hijacked Islam and the Islamic leaders of the world should proclaim a Fatwa agains them. Their heinous crimes against anyone who does not agree with their mistaken interpretation of Islam including other followers of Islam, and the Cultural genocide they are commiting regularly MUST be stopped mainly by the Islamic states. Is lslamic states that play by international rules and respect their neighbours. Many of the militants have been deluded by lies and should be de-radicalized and rehabilitated but this difficult task can only be done by true followers of Islam with patience and compassion. The war against ISIL can not be won in the battle field only.
I have many Muslim friends in different parts of the world and they are wonderful kind, tolerant and compassionate people and they all agree that the Islam that ISIL follow and are trying to impose through crimes against humanity is not Islam. I could not agree more!